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Shaping Superyachts

Yacht designers are reimagining the form and function of superyachts.

October 19, 2020
216-foot Futura concept
Vripack in the Netherlands created this 216-foot Futura concept. The superstructure idea had been percolating for a decade. Courtesy Vripack

Inspiration is a powerful force inside the design firms and shipyards that create truly modern yachts. While today’s visionaries of course stay grounded in the lessons of naval architecture, more and more often, they are allowing more vibrant inspirations to reshape the way yachts look inside and out—a process that, by definition, also reshapes the way yachtsmen and guests interact with the vessels.

Vripack, the award-winning firm in the Netherlands, is among the leading designers and builders that fully embrace yacht-design inspiration. For its 216-foot Futura concept, Vripack looked to the natural world for everything from propulsion to deck layout.

“Her flowing, curvaceous lines denote an elegant femininity that draws from a collection of shapes found in nature,” the company stated in the yacht’s introduction. “An aerial view of the cocoonlike superstructure reveals a streamlined bow and a rounded middle, like the silhouette of a whale.”

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216-foot Futura concept
The Futura is designed with electric-diesel propulsion and “bio-based batteries” made from salt, sand, water and plants. Courtesy Vripack

Heesen Yachts, similarly, embraced inspiration with its 164-foot Project Triton, drawing not on modern automotive styling but instead on the more curvaceous, sexy shapes of years gone by.

“Clifford Denn created an elegant profile characterized by flowing curves with elements inspired by classic car design,” Heesen says of the yacht’s exterior. “Her bold and elegant profile won’t go unnoticed when sailing off the coast of the south of France or in the crystal-clear waters of the Caribbean.”

She can go a lot farther than that too. According to Heesen, Project Triton has a transoceanic range of 3,800 nautical miles at 12 knots, with a top speed of 15 knots. Her powerplants are twin MTU V-8 4000 M63s, and her full-displacement hull is steel, which should ensure a comfortable cruise, even in some sizable swells.

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Project Triton
Heesen’s Project Triton is projected to have a 3,800-nautical-mile range at 12 knots. Courtesy Heesen Yachts
Project Triton
In this stateroom on Heesen’s Project Triton, the carpet looks like sculpted bands of sand. Courtesy Heesen Yachts

Inside Project Triton, nature-inspired shapes seem to flow free. The designers at Reymond Langton chose elements such as rounded sofas and sculpted carpets to offset the square windows in places like the master stateroom, calling the interior a “linear and clean environment.” Note the use of lines on the ceiling and bulkheads as a kind of architectural design element, creating the effect of artistry without the bulk of framed artwork or mounted sculptures. That design approach, along with the decor’s neutral color scheme and light pops of color, fulfills the “linear and clean” vision that Reymond Langton sought to achieve.

Not to be outdone when incorporating nature-inspired elements, Dynamiq Yachts, with its GTT 160, actually integrates the environment into the vessel itself. The main deck is partially open—on a 162-footer—the way a beach club far aft might be open aboard other superyachts. Aboard this yacht, the beach club starts on the main deck proper and extends to fill a space of nearly 1,300 square feet. That’s as big as some two-bedroom apartments—and the yacht still has room for staterooms accommodating 12 guests, plus quarters for eight crew.

Dynamiq GTT 160
The 162-foot Dynamiq GTT 160 has a semiopen main deck with a gymnasium and spa. Balconies flank the master stateroom. Courtesy Dynamiq Yachts

The inspiration for the GTT 160 concept, according to Dynamiq CEO Sergei Dobroserdov, was a focus not on traditional features but instead on general well-being for owners and clients when they are aboard. “We asked ourselves, ‘What can we bring to the market that makes more sense for our clients?’” he says.

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The answer to that question seems to be truly inspired design, not just for Dynamiq but for all the builders now encouraging creativity to flow through form and function alike.

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